So you're in a band, you're just starting out, and, yes, you want a record deal so the world can hear your musical genius. We all know the big boys only sign people from reality television competitions now, so what do you do? You do some research about some indies and you harass the bejesus out of them until they realize how brilliant you are. Foolproof, right? Well … not so much. Casey Shafer owns and runs San Francisco's Burning House Records. Here are his tips on how to get a record deal (without being on television).
Remember: Unsolicited Demos Suck
“When I was in a band, I sent my demo tape to Fat Wreck Chords a
half dozen times. The anticipation drove me nuts, and I went to sleep
every night dreaming of the day that I could do blow off the back
of a dirty toilet tank with Fat Mike. (Offer still stands, Mike.) I
wish someone had told me then what is painfully obvious to me now: Sending a label an unsolicited demo, you basically have the same odds of getting signed as that middle-aged woman from human resources does by doing karaoke every Wednesday. Sure, I listen to every demo that gets sent to Burning House, but most of them just end up signed to Roadhouse Records (that's where it ends up after we've thrown it out the window).”